From today’s Prince George’s Maryland Gazette.net:
Grace Brethren Christian School’s boys’ basketball team likes to compare itself to the Phoenix Suns. But unlike the high-scoring National Basketball Association team, the Eagles have a championship to celebrate.
The Clinton school won the Maryland Christian Schools Tournament Division I title last weekend at Washington Bible College in Lanham. It was the first Maryland Christian championship for the Eagles, who completed a school-best 30-5 campaign.
‘‘We like to run and gun, so to speak,” said Grace Brethren coach Dennis Loufik. ‘‘The more possessions, the more shots, that’s all they want.”
The Eagles defeated Capitol Christian in the finals after getting past Elkton Christian in the semifinals at Anne Arundel Community College. For Grace Brethren, the championship was redemption after failing to defend its Potomac Valley Athletic Conference title two weeks ago.
‘‘We knew we should’ve won it, but there were some controversial plays,” said Eagles’ senior guard Devin Paige, whose team lost to St. Anselm’s, 59-58, in the PVAC finals. ‘‘We said as a team we wanted to go out and win this championship. We wanted this one, even though, we should’ve won both of them.”
Giovanni Flowers was the tournament’s most valuable player, scoring 26 points in the finals. While Flowers and Paige, who both surpassed the 1,000-point career mark, carried the scoring responsibility this season, Grace Brethren received contributions from several performers.
Brad Harris, a junior transfer from Thomas Stone High, was the main inside presence, as he demonstrated with a 17-rebound showing on Saturday. Eugene Edwards filled in admirably the final 15 games after Benjamin Fuller suffered a season-ending broken hand injury.
‘‘Any guy on any night could’ve been the star offensively,” said Loufik. ‘‘Last year, we were limited in who was going to put the ball in the basket. We had rebounders and defensive people.”
‘‘We were a little lazy, but we decided to start working more,” said Paige. ”We just had the heart and desire to go out and want to win it. We became more mature.”
Loufik expects next season to be a rebuilding process with Harris as the lone returning starter. The Eagles, who won three tournaments this winter, went 52-16 the past two seasons.
‘‘These kids have been together since middle school and that’s why they were successful,” said Loufik. ‘‘They were really family, shared the ball, and played as a team. We didn’t have go to through the meshing process.”
‘‘It was a unique team,” said Paige. ‘‘To be together since ninth grade and watch each other grow and mature as a player and a man, it doesn’t get better for a high school player.”